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Don’t sneeze your weedy seeds

The confusion in what causes hay fever allergies has been a hot topic on this blog.  Despite modern medicine and pharmacology being rooted in science-based medicine, it seems that advertising for the same medical offices and pharmacological products for allergy-reduction has not gotten the same message.  Here are some photos from the outside walls of the allergy clinic next to the place where I am attending a meeting this week.

Image of wall advertising seen outside allergy clinic in Chattanooga, Tennessee, showing a child blowing the fruiting head of a dandelion. (c) photo by Botanical Accuracy, 2016.

Based on these, you would think that those white nice fluffy dandelion (or thistle) fruits would have something to do with your allergies.  Not so.  (The dog might though.)

Image of wall advertising with child, dog, and superimposed dandelions seen outside allergy clinic in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (c) photo by Botanical Accuracy, 2016.

Most hay fevers are caused by wind-dispersed POLLEN, which comes from tiny but mighty wind-pollinated flowers, such as those present in grasses, mug worts, birches, and ragweeds.  Dandelion flowers are insect pollinated (as explained here).  Dandelion fruits (or commonly called ‘seeds), which are actually one-seeded small nuts (a kid of fruit) with a long stalk and umbrella of hairs to fly away, are not allergenic.  They just fly in the air, and gets to represent the invisible pollen that also fly in the air at the same time.  Unfortunately, this make people dislike dandelions even more.  

Image of wall advertising showing walking couple in meadow and superimposed dandelion fruits, seen outside allergy clinic in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (c) photo by Botanical Accuracy, 2016.

I can’t help wonder if the highly educated, science-minded doctors in this office know about this mistake.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a survey to see what allergy doctors actually know about wind-pollinated plants, wind-dispersed fruits, and common allergenic plants? I think it is about time that these doctors also should point out to the pharmaceutical companies and marketing designers that ‘sorry, we only do science-based advertising and prescription here’.

mage of wall advertising showing biking child and superimposed dandelion fruits, seen outside allergy clinic in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (c) photo by Botanical Accuracy, 2016.

I know that the general skin test that you can done might come back saying that you are allergic to ‘trees and weeds’. This is about as broad as saying you are allergic to ‘mammals and garden pests’.  It is so non-specific and inaccurate that it is not useful if you want to actually know what you are allergic to.  But be sure, dandelions are not the culprit, and should not be plastered all over doctors’ offices and allergy medication ads. 

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